Area golfers struggle at state
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aspen golfer Jesse Beetham summed up his trip to the 3A state tournament with one word.
“Horrible,” the senior said Tuesday. “Just horrible.”
Beetham’s trouble started with an errant drive at No. 1 in Monday’s opening round at Denver’s Pinehurst Country Club. He somehow managed to escape with par. He was not as fortunate the rest of the day, however, carding a 14-over-par 84.
His teammates did not fare much better. The result: a forgettable two days for the four-time defending regional champions and last year’s state runner-up. The Skiers finished with a two-day total of 486 points, good only for sixth place.
Fueled by medalist Ben Moore’s two even-par 70s, Kent Denver cruised to a seventh consecutive team title. The Sun Devils’ total of 445 was 27 strokes better than Holy Family. Estes Park (477), Alexander Dawson (482) and Trinidad (484) rounded out the top five.
“I feel like I let not only myself down but my team, my town, the school,” Beetham said. “I’m so disappointed with how I did.”
Added Aspen head coach Mary Woulfe, “It was a very tough couple days. It was hard watching good players struggle so much. It was heartbreaking more than disappointing, especially considering how badly they wanted it.
“When you play to your ability and still lose, that’s one thing. When you don’t come close to your normal range, that’s tough to deal with.”
Beetham momentarily dipped into red figures Monday with a birdie at No. 2. He followed that up at No. 3 with the first of five double bogeys.
He shot 79 on Tuesday.
“I’ve obviously hit bad tee shots in my golfing career, but I’ve never gone through 36 holes where I couldn’t even get the ball off the tee,” said Beetham, who was fifth last year after shooting 74-72.
“It was basically a series of bad holes that caused him to lose focus and concentration,” Woulfe added. “He was visibly shaken by it. He wasn’t sure what he could do to recover, and that was crushing for him.
“We threw his score out (Monday). In all of his high school career, I remember only two times that has happened.”
Clayton Crawford, Aspen’s lone bright spot on Day 1, was 3-over through 16 holes. His spot in the top 10 disappeared, however, after a triple bogey and a double at No. 17 and 18, respectively.
The junior went on to shoot 85 Tuesday, settling for a tie for 22nd with Beetham. Teammates Joseph Kistner (80-84) and August So (81-84) finished in ties for 26th and 30th, respectively.
“I don’t think it was pressure. I think it was bad performances,” Woulfe said. “There wasn’t too much hype, and they were all comfortable and relaxed going into it. We just didn’t play well.”
Basalt’s Dylan Rakowski and Tristan Rohrbaugh know the feeling. A year after finishing 10th and 12th, respectively, the duo struggled mightily on Pinehurst’s Maxwell Course. Rohrbaugh (85-79) wound up in a tie for 26th, while Rakowski (81-86) finished in a tie for 35th out of 84.
“A lot of players have high expectations, along with us as coaches, and when the wheels start wobbling that falls off,” Longhorns head coach Al Rakowski said. “Whatever the game plan was kind of went by the wayside, and things didn’t quite work out the way we had hoped.
“Dylan summed it up best when he said, ‘At least I got a medal last year.'”
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.